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La Oveja Negra Eatery

Generous portions of authentic Mexican food are now available on the east side

Authentic Mexican cuisine has a new home in East Tacoma. Photo credit: Dutch Randall

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ANNOUNCER: The South Sound is long known for the availability of authentic Asian cuisine, and lately, traditional Mexican spots have been popping up throughout the area. The latest of these is La Oveja Negra Eatery on the east side of Tacoma. Open just Friday through Sunday, with plans to open on Thursdays soon, Dutch and Jackie spent their weekend digging into the menu.

JACKIE: Let's start with the good: service is personable and prompt. We were greeted upon entry and service was effective, though a bit unpolished. Plus, Mexican Coke in a glass bottle. It just tastes better!

DUTCH: You aren't kidding about the friendly service; the staff was quick to welcome me and introduce me to the open seats, and described several items on the menu before even giving me one. I was excited to learn that everything here (except the Coke) is made in-house from the tortillas to the slow-roasted barbacoa.

JACKIE: Chilaquiles are a favorite go-to of mine -- execution can vary from place to place and I was excited to dive in. In this instance, I wasn't a fan of this version. The chips were saturated with a paste-like enchilada sauce leaving them soggy, the chopped, overly salty chicken added atop did not improve things. The dish hit the wrong note for me lacking the flavor and texture I was craving. Luckily, I washed it all down with an ice-cold swig of Coke from a glass bottle -- it made all the difference.

DUTCH: I had much better luck with the barbacoa. Barbacoa is lamb that has been slow-roasted for eight hours with garlic and orange. This practice is a family recipe for the owners. I opted for the plate which included beans, rice, fresh chopped onions and cilantro, and a generous stack of house-made tortillas. The meat was tender and had only a mild flavor that didn't overwhelm the plate. When constructing my meal into little tacos so I could fully enjoy the tortillas, I let the hot sauce do the talking. Be prepared, this stuff is spicy, and just as I like it! And yes, Jackie, I also had a Mexican Coke to wash it down with; how could you not?

JACKIE: The Burrito Plate boasted a generous presentation with a large burrito loaded with beans, rice and your choice of protein -- a base of house sauce sets the plate, and a drizzle of sour cream and sprinkling of cheese finishes it all off. The side of rice, beans, tortilla chips and guacamole brought it to behemoth-sized portions that will insure you won't leave hungry. While I enjoyed the burrito leagues more than the chilaquiles, I was ultimately disappointed in the grisly texture of the steak.

DUTCH: Another specialty here are the sopas. There are three offerings including seafood, lamb, and beef. I ordered the Siete Mares, a seafood-based soup that includes white fish, oysters, scallops, muscles, crab legs, octopus, and shrimp. Though I'm not a fan of that much of a variety of seafood in one place, but with the addition of Mexican spices, this dish has enough kick that the seafood wasn't overwhelming. I threw a little salsa on top just for good measure.

LA OVEJA NEGRA EATERY, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday-Saturday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday; closed Monday-Thursday, 806 East 72nd St., Tacoma,

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